Rosenberg Martin Greenberg’s COVID-19 Online Resource Center for Business Clients

With the law changing every day, Barry Greenberg and his team created an online crisis-response center—in one day

Published in 2020 Maryland Super Lawyers Magazine — January 2020

When the COVID-19 virus began its initial spread to the United States in January, with the first reported cases popping up in Maryland in early March, Baltimore’s Rosenberg Martin Greenberg started planning for the worst-case scenario. It had a leg up in strategizing, as the firm already had an established disaster recovery and business continuity plan in place. But even that couldn’t answer everything.

“We knew there would be hiccups along the way, but we wanted to have a process in place to switch as seamlessly as possible to a remote workforce,” says managing partner Barry Greenberg. “We were lucky to have a protocol to refer to in a time in which we found ourselves facing considerable uncertainty.” Being a small, agile firm helps, Greenberg says. But getting staff and lawyers up and running is one thing. Client outreach was a whole other problem. 

“Due to the nature of the pandemic, our clients who own and operate bars, restaurants, event venues and more were the first to be shut down by the executive orders enacted by the State of Maryland,” Greenberg says. “Immediately, there were legal issues for landlords and tenants alike, as well as anyone who employs a workforce of a business that was shut down to prevent the spread of the virus.”

For RMG's clients in that space, the closings brought a slew of questions, like, ‘Do liquor license renewals have to be filed; and, if so, how, if the liquor board is closed?’ Or, ‘How do we decided whether to keep hourly employees or let them collect unemployment?’

“We knew we had to act fast in order to get in front of the business community, and to do so in a fashion that would add value instead of noise to the slew of content that was being pushed out,” Greenberg says. “The RMG Resource Center seemed like the best option to us.”

The RMG Resource Center operates as an online space that keeps jurisdictional updates separate but easy to find. Clients can click their specific region (like, “Anne Arundel County”) or specific issue (like, “Landlord Tenant”) and can find in-real-time, unique-to-them updates.

“We identified the opportunity to anticipate clients’ needs as soon as the flurry of governmental operations notices began to flow into our Land Use & Zoning group,” Greenberg says. “We are, and have always been, very sensitive to only reaching out to our clients with alerts that aren’t clutter. During a time of high-volume communications … [we don’t want to have] to email them every time something changes, which, as you can imagine, is quite frequently.”

When the firm was trouble-shooting how to tackle the project, outsourcing didn’t make much sense. “That might have taken weeks,” Greenberg says. “I’m proud to say that our marketing and business development department worked diligently and pulled together the resource center in-house in just one business day. Our team coordinated with the attorneys who were closely monitoring updates, posting in live time and using the client’s potential questions and concerns to spur thought leadership content, which continually populates the resource center.”

Reaction from clients has been “overwhelmingly supportive,” Greenberg notes.

“The most unsettling part of the pandemic’s effect on the business community is the ever-changing nature of the control measures put in place,” he says. “Our clients are dealing with issues ranging from employment issues, to pending litigation being stalled, to impact on future operations and new projects to loan modifications, to the ultimate struggle of their own personal worries at a time of great stress. Our team knows that each and every client has a personal reason to worry, suffer, and long for the pandemic curve to be flattened. We hope to make that journey, no matter how long it takes, just a little bit easier.”

For information on more legal questions regarding COVID-19, visit FindLaw’s legal center, or find more articles on superlawyers.com/articles (search for COVID-19). 

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